Hannah Lamey, a 15-year-old from Cape May, had a grueling but fun-filled Monday afternoon. While the rest of her classmates at Lower Cape May Regional High School attended classes, Lamey and her Shore Thing dance troupe spent an afternoon receiving critiques from Paula Abdul.
"She's been mentoring us for the last few days," Lamey said during a telephone interview from CBS Studios in Los Angeles. "She's been giving us tips on camera angles and that sort of thing. It's been totally awesome. She's been through so much in the business, and her advice is priceless to us."
Shore Thing makes its second appearance on Abdul's CBS show "Live to Dance" tonight. On Jan. 5, Shore Thing earned a place in the 18-act semifinal round by performing a 90-second jazz and contemporary routine to Michael Jackson's "Ghosts." CBS re-strictions meant Lamey couldn't say what the dancers were planning for tonight's episode, but she promised it would be "exciting." The eventual winners of the show will receive $500,000.
"It's such an honor for us to get this far," said Lamey, whose 12-year-old sister Ashley also is in the troupe. "We always go to competitions, so we know how to handle the pressure. But the cameras and the professional lighting onstage are a little bit different for us. We're enjoying ourselves so much."
The members of Shore Thing won't necessarily know if they advance tonight. Abdul and her fellow judges, choreographer Travis Payne, who worked on Jackson's "This Is It," and former Pussycat Dolls singer/dancer Kimberly Wyatt, could put the troupe straight through to the next round. But if the judges decline, Shore Thing could still advance through nationwide voting. The results of the voting will be announced on the Feb. 2 episode.
Hannah Lamey said all the members of the troupe are receiving three hours of tutoring per day, and they also are doing schoolwork their teachers sent along. Lamey said the troupe has developed a "closeness" on their trips to Los Angeles.
"We feel like one big family," she said. "We're all staying together in the same hotel. It's a chance to get to know each other even better than we did before."
Troupe members all are part of the Jersey Cape Dance & Gymnastics Academy competition team. The academy is owned by Stina Smith, one of the three coaches and a choreographer of Shore Thing. Smith's daughter, Kendra Heminway, and sister, Annika Nash, also coach the troupe.
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